The Floating Ax Head

Joe Louis became the heavyweight boxing champion of the world in 1934 and successfully defended the title twenty-five times over the following fifteen years. The sports voice of those days, Bill Stern, asked Joe how he had been able to knock out his opponents so quickly in almo … More

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In these chapters we have several miracles and ministries of Elisha, some done privately for God’s people, some done publicly for the nation. At one of the colleges for the prophets (probably in Jericho) their accommodations had become overcrowded and Elisha’s followers (who may have been students at the college) volunteered to help build new dormitories (vv. 1-2). However they wanted Elisha (their college president) to be involved with them. (v.3). Elisha not only gave his permission for this project but he also agreed to accompany the workmen.

In the process of cutting down trees, one of the men using a borrowed axe, had the misfortune of having the axe head fall into the river (vv. 4-5). The worker appealed to Elisha (the college president) for help. After asking where it had fallen, Elisha symbolically cast a stick into the water and God miraculously made the iron float on the water so that it could be retrieved (vv. 6-7). Certainly this miracle encouraged this group of faithful followers of the Lord that their God really is alive and that He would supernaturally provide for their needs.

All that we have is borrowed or loaned to us by the Lord to get his work done (John 3:27). We can lose the cutting edge, even while serving the Lord. But we need to recognize it when it happens and stop trying to chop without an axe head. Then we need to go back where we lost it and ask the Lord for help in recovering it. He alone can do the impossible if we will just trust Him.

 

Application

Elisha’s personal contact with the students at The School for the Prophets showed that he never forgot the ordinary people even though he had the ear of kings. I must never let the importance of influential people rob me of my concern for the human needs of ordinary people.

 

II Kings 6:1-7 (English Standard Version)

Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, "See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there." And he answered, "Go." Then one of them said, "Be pleased to go with your servants." And he answered, "I will go." So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, "Alas, my master! It was borrowed." Then the man of God said, "Where did it fall?" When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float. And he said, "Take it up." So he reached out his hand and took it.

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